There are many tales of how children differ when raised in the city vs country. While there are pros & cons to both, my personal experience proves that the country life is a far richer experience than any concrete jungle can provide.

Don’t get me wrong, raising our children on a ranch in Texas does have its disadvantages. For instance, our children haven’t experienced a mugging, they have no idea what tofu is and they can’t join a street gang. We’re very disappointed in that last one. ⇐ sarcasm

All joking aside, I see a difference between my children and some of our close friend’s children who reside in an urban environment.My sons, they are independent and strong, logical thinking. I love hearing them talk about how they will raise their future children on a ranch and teach them to hunt. They say yes sir and understand that when you mess up, you take responsibility for it. They are compassionate and understanding, appreciate life and never look at hunting as a sport, only as a way of life. They know we hunt for food and understand wildlife management but they are quick to nurse an orphan bunny or fawn. They play with insects and grass snakes and my oldest son loves to give horn toads belly rubs. When it comes to farm work I know that I can count on them to feed and water the animals, they help bathe the horses and have worked in cold rainy weather to secure cover on our chicken coop. There isn’t a desire to live on XBox and an iPhone all day. I can hardly keep them indoors. Most days I’m found hollering on the back porch for them to come in for dinner. They’ll come running in their boots and scuffed jeans covered in mud with sticks and be-be guns in hand from behind the mesquite and cactus brush.

My sweet daughter, even though she is a teenager now, raising her out on a ranch away from the cruel world has given her the opportunity to hold on to that innocence children lose so quickly now days. There is no pressure for her to grow up and leave those toys behind. On the ranch, she is as tomboy as she wants to be with her brothers in tow. She may get her nails & hair done for pageant days but I can assure you it doesn’t take long to find her playing in the field with her horse, dressing our cats in doll clothing or snapping pictures of cows and flowers. I can always count on her to be a great big sister and she does her fair share of chores around the ranch. She is kind, loving and she would give away her last dollar to help a friend out.

The kids are never bored or lonely. They know each adventure is just a few steps off the porch.   They can bait their own hooks, skin their own deer and have been pretty good in the kitchen this past year. When the water well gave out, they made do with the bare necessities and genuinely enjoyed “roughing” it for a day or two. When the roads flooded and we couldn’t leave the ranch, they jumped in those muddy creeks and celebrated God’s blessings.

In some ways, my children may be immature compared to a city child. In the ways that count, they’re right were they need to be.

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